February 25, 2018 Subject:
411028_Fibber_Meets_A_Racketeer is just another copy of 411118_Mayor_LaTrivia_Wont_Leave
July 24, 2013 Subject:
Fibber McGee and Molly on TV
Sometimes a message and a medium are simply perfect compliments. Sci-fi was like this, radio sci-fi could reach heights that until recently TV could never touch. The mind is a better special effect generator than film. Early TV sci-fi was awful. Like sci-fi Fibber and Molly were designed for radio (arguably, along with Jack Benny, the first modern sitcom, since Amos and Andy was a soap opera early on) and worked best there.
Both Benny and Burns changed their shows to fit TV. Both playing to their comedy strengths such as timing by addressing the audience directly. Ball and to an extent Skelton became bigger on TV as visual clowning was their domain.
The strengths of Fibber and Molly were not visual traits. The biggest appeal was that they were your friends, ordinary (more of less) folk like you who came by for a visit every week and made you smile. They looked and really were like this image in many ways. This was great for radio and radio publicity, but terrible for TV. Neither Marion or Jim looked like a TV star was supposed to look and neither was a great film actor. Watch their films to get an idea of what they would have been like on TV. On radio they sparkle, on film they are flat and it is only Bergan and McCarthys' clowning that bring any life to the film.
Also many of the gags are verbal and/or sound effects based. In the very poor TV show staring other actors, the closet gag doesn't work for the same reason early sci-fi TV didn't work. In the mind's eye the stuff coming out of the closet flows like a river crushing the poor soul who dared open the closet. On TV or film, some junk falls out of a closet. Jim was great a tongue twisters and manipulating words, but what are you going to do on TV, a closeup of his mouth?
Like the Andy Griffith show and Mayberry, Wistful Vista was a character in the show. The TV attempt totally leaves this out, likely because it was too expensive. Bill Thompson played many characters, on TV he could only have played one. Since he is too young for Old-timer, you have to pick Wimp and loose all the other characters he did. If he wold even do TV as he was a voice guy only for most of his career. Arthur Q. Bryan was strictly a voice man and would never have gone to TV. Teeny wouldn't have worked on TV. So the cast at best, assuming Gale Gordon stayed on, is Fibber and Molly looking uncomfortable in front of the camera (Molly didn't even stand at the mic in front of the audience on radio), Bill Thompson also being uncomfortable on film and Gale Gordon chewing the scenery with no real TV 'actor' to play against. Is that really the way you want arguably the greatest OTR show ever to end up being remembered as a uncomfortable half hour of second rate entertainment? If you do watch the films and then the TV show and imagine the two fused together in your mind. Not a pretty picture.
Leave Fibber and Molly on radio, were for the decade of the forties plus a bit on each edge, they created the finest husband-wife comedy team and the greatest radio show of all time. (I'm am totally unbiased).
May 14, 2011 Subject:
If you want to hear the best of the best of FMM, check out the Dinner Party/Quarantine two parter, listed above (March 4th and 11)
May 11, 2011 Subject:
Funnier than all
I love George and Gracie. Jack Benny was hilarious. Fred Allen was so dry and so very funny, but Jim and Marion had them beat. Hands down, they were the best.
May 11, 2011 Subject:
Marian and Jim
I get the impression from various books and interviews that Jim didn't have a big 'showbiz ego'. The other Vaudevillians (Hope, Benny, Burns, etc) kept going in TV and public appearances because they had to. Life wasn't life unless they were on stage.
Jim already had other businesses long before the show ended in '59, and just continued to run those other businesses, didn't seem to miss the spotlight.
May 10, 2011 Subject:
Marian and Jim Jordan
The couple WERE bigger than Burns and Allen at least on radio. FIBBER.. was either #1 or in the top 10 throughout the 1940s and they lasted in various forms until the late 1950's. Gracie retired in 1958 and Marian's health prompted a retirement in 1959.
October 17, 2007 Subject:
Greatest Comedy Team in Radio
Better timing than Benny, and funnier than Hope, I have always maintained Jim and Marion Jordan could have gone on to become even bigger than Burns and Allen if not for Marion's poor health.
Marion Jordan died in 1961, and Jim hardly performed much after that. Had she been healthier, and had they not taken the bad advice of "milking radio for all it's worth" as television started catching fire, I am certain they would have gone on to greater things, but as fate would have it we only have these wonderful radio shows left of what I believe top be one of the greatest husband and wife comedy teams of all time, not just radio.
And thank you Johnson's wax for having enough foresight to record and preserve these shows for posterity! They truly are the gold of Radio's Golden Age.
June 26, 2007 Subject:
41-10-28 Fibber Meets a Racketeer is actually 41-11-18 Mayor Overstays His Welcome
March 16, 2007 Subject:
Fibber McGee and America during WWII
As has been noted about Fred Allen, the Fibber McGee Program is another wonderful window into America during WWII. The program often centered on the common problems of the common man of the day, including gas rationing, black market meat, buying bonds, etc. Fibber was a great Everyman, and was often cast on the wrong track regarding rationing and other things, and was set straight by other cast members.